Fatimid Artists in Palermo and Constantinople
Professor Jeremy John
An audience of academics, students and other interested parties gathered in the MBI Al Jaber Building at Oxford University’s Corpus Christi College for a presentation on the Fatimid artists in Palermo and Constantinople by Professor Jeremy Johns.
Jeremy Johns is Professor of the Art and Archaeology of the Islamic Mediterranean and Director of the Khalili Research Centre for the Art and Material Culture of the Middle East at the University of Oxford. He is principally interested in relations between Muslim and Christian societies in the medieval Mediterranean as manifested in material and visual culture.
In his lecture, Professor Johns put forward evidence to suggest that an atelier from Fatimid Cairo was working in both Palermo and Constantinople. He did this by discussing a now lost room known as the “Mouchroutas” that once existed in the Great Palace in Constantinople. Although the name “Mouchroutas” is believed by some to indicate a Seljuq type conical kiosk, Professor Johns proposed that the term mentioned in medieval texts was in fact referring to the “Mouchroutia” or wine-beakers held by the ruler and his cup-companions who were depicted on the ceiling. Using the writer Mesarites’s description he made a comparison with the surviving ceiling of the Cappella Palatina and deduced “that both were made by an atelier from Fatimid Cairo”.
The audience was fascinated by the high level of scholarship and asked a number of interesting questions at the end of the presentation.
The annual public lecture was co-hosted by the MBI Al Jaber Foundation and Gingko. It is one of a number of initiatives sponsored by the Foundation, a British registered charity, which aims to promote cultural dialogue and exchange between the Middle East and wider world.